Disappointed in the domestic pork market, Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF) is now eyeing foreign markets for swine breeding, particularly Vietnam and China.
"Annual pork consumption in Thailand is 13-14 kilograms per person, which is much lower than that of Vietnam and China at 22kg and 40kg per person," Somkuan Choowatanapakorn, executive vice president for swine breeding and farming research and development, said last week.
CPF was counting on Bt20 billion in revenue from the swine department this year. However, the last six months did not reach half the target due to the high cost of feed, accounting for 65 per cent of total cost, and the low price of pork. And the second half is not promising either, as consumer purchasing power has faded, he said.
CPF has been expanding its pig farms to many Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries such as Cambodia and Myanmar for 20 years, as raw pork cannot be exported to those countries due to hand, foot and mouth disease. Expansion in Thailand is not easy because of limitations in regulations that decentralise power to local administrations, which vary from place to place.
The image of pig farms has changed under CPF's green policy aimed at cutting down greenhouse gases, lessening the bad odour and increase efficient resource usage. Thailand will be the centre for R&D before such technologies are applied in other countries.
Annual pig demand is normally 15 million heads worth about Bt100 billion with CPF commanding 20 per cent of the market. The pork market is very sensitive as a small change in production can tremendously affect prices. Porcine epidemic diarrhoea and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome are two viral diseases that caused the recent shortfall in supply. CPF has to be careful about protecting quality to prevent such infections.
Source: The Nation